TWIC electronic readers still years away


Use of electronic readers to verify valid Transportation Worker Identification Credentials at ports is more than 2 years away, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft said March 26.

Zukunft, who spoke at a joint hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure and House Oversight and Government Reform committees, said the Homeland Security Department is working toward a final rule for TWIC readers, after which DHS envisions it will take 2 years to fully implement them.

He said there are 32 recognized commercial TWIC readers, but that DHS needs to factor in comments from industry to make sure that the readers don't impede commerce. One consideration, he noted, will be whether mobile or fixed readers will be most effective.

The TWIC program, administered by the Transportation Security Administration, issues credentials to workers who require unescorted access to secure areas of ports, vessels and related facilities.

Stephen Lord, director of the Government Accountability Office's homeland security program, said GAO was able to breach some facilities during covert tests it conducted for a 2011 report on TWIC.

In response, TSA retrained enrollment site employees to identify fraudulent documents and also modified its system so that TSA's adjudicators can review documents more thoroughly, according to Stephen Sadler, TSA's assistant administrator for intelligence and analysis. In the future, TSA also intends to check biometric TWIC data against the US-VISIT repository, he said.

For more:
- go to the hearing webpage (prepared testimony and webcast available)

Related Articles:
GAO: TWIC introduces security vulnerabilities
TSA 'exploring options' on TWIC expiration
Coast Guard slightly relaxes TWIC policy for merchant marine